The start of a new season is always a reason for optimism. Sometimes the optimism is just that, you know, pie-in-the-sky optimism.
This isn’t it. The oddsmakers have the Chargers a 50-1 long-shot to make the Super Bowl. That’s okay. The Chargers may not be the favorite, but they have a legitimate chance of going to the big dance.
Reasons The Los Angeles Chargers Will Make The Super Bowl
5. Super Bowl Hangover
It is not advisable to depend on someone else for your fortune, and the Kansas City Chiefs are the team to beat, who also reside in their division.
Per CBS, “In the 54-year history of the Super Bowl, only a dozen teams have appeared in consecutive Super Bowls. Of those teams, only seven repeated as a Super Bowl champion, with the 2003-04 Patriots the most recent.”
And those were in “normal” times, these times are anything but normal.
4. Bryan Bulaga and Mike Pouncey, i.e. The Offensive Line
According to Pro Football Focus, the offensive line was ranked 29th last season, being the weak link in the Chargers’ quest for some time now.
The Chargers used the off-season to make the offensive line better, much better.
Pouncey’s neck injury appears to be in the rearview mirror. They traded for right guard Trai Turner and signed right tackle Bulaga, instantly improving their offensive line.
Bulaga was acquired from the Green Bay Packers, whom he played for nine seasons. In his 115 NFL games, he has started 111, including 13 playoff games and a Super Bowl victory.
Turner was acquired from the Carolina Panthers for Russell Okung. Turner has been to the Pro Bowl in his last five seasons, and he started in Super Bowl 50. It doesn’t hurt that he has experience blocking for one of the best running backs in the league.
Pouncey was out after week five because of a neck injury. This will be Pouncey’s 10th season in the NFL, and his history includes Pro Bowl trips and plenty of post-season experience.
They will play with guard Dan Feeney who played 97.2 percent of the offensive snaps last season; tackle Trey Pipkins, who played 91 percent of the offensive snaps in week 10, started week 11 and weeks 16 and 17; tackle Sam Tevi who started 29 games over the last two seasons; tackle Trent Scott who started nine games in 2019; guard Forrest Lamp who had an ankle injury in week seven that ended his season, and center/guard Scott Quessenberry who played 665 snaps in 2019 after the loss of Pouncey.
There is a new offensive line coach and now the line is healthy, the offense can depend on them.
The Chargers defense regressed to 14th overall in 2019.
Tom Telesco and Co. made moves to improve on that in both free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft. Now they are set up to be one of the best defenses in the NFL, in both the front line and the secondary.
The additions coupled with healthy veterans should stop the slow downhill fall the defense has experienced. The defense ranked third in 2017, eighth in 2018, and 14th in 2019.
Having a shutdown secondary and a front line that terrorizes opposing quarterbacks will make this defense one to be feared. They should be capable of slowing down the Chiefs, stopping the Raiders, and handling the young Broncos.
Here is their schedule for you to decide:
- Week 1 @ Cincinnati Bengals
- Week 2 v Kansas City Chiefs
- Week 3 v Carolina Panthers
- Week 4 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Week 5 @ New Orleans Saints
- Week 6 v New York Jets
- Week 7 @ Miami Dolphins
- Week 8 v Jacksonville Jaguars
- Week 9 v Las Vegas Raiders
- Week 10 BYE WEEK
- Week 11 @ Denver Broncos
- Week 12 @ Buffalo Bills
- Week 13 v New England Patriots
- Week 14 v Atlanta Falcons
- Week 15 @ Las Vegas Raiders
- Week 16 v Denver Broncos
- Week 17 @ Kansas City Chiefs
1. Tyrod Taylor
Are we forgetting that Taylor was the quarterback when the Buffalo Bills went to their first playoff game in 17 seasons with infinitely fewer weapons than the Chargers currently possess?
Why all the hate?
Turnovers are not something that Taylor is familiar with as he has thrown 20 interceptions on 1,362 passes (1.5 career interception percentage) for those keeping score Philip Rivers had 20 interceptions on 591 passing attempts last season.
Accuracy is also there. According to Pro Football Focus, he has completed 48.9 percent of his pass attempts going 20-plus yards downfield.
“Game manager?” When did that become such a dirty word? Taylor doesn’t throw turnovers and he now has the receivers that will complement his ability.
Yeah, he isn’t Patrick Mahomes, who is? That doesn’t mean his skill set, his ability to manage a game won’t get the Chargers to the promised land.
Talk to me on Twitter @neverenoughglt.